With a team full of world superstars, the backing of the world’s eighth richest man and one of the UK’s best vocal crowds (when we can be bothered), Chelsea are the victim’s of a level of jealousy not seen since OJ Simpson spotted his wife talking to a ‘friend’.
With Chelsea voted at the weekend as the third most hated team in the UK below Man Utd and Leeds (CFCnet voted for Leeds), what saddens me above anything else is opposition fans and journalists resorting to trotting out the line “lack of history” as the only jibe worthy of mention.
That line annoys me, not because ‘I doeth protest too much’ but more a question of historical accuracy. Let’s look at some key facts:
- Chelsea played its first FA Cup Final in 1915. Yes, you read right, Chelsea played their first FA Cup Final in 1915. OK, we lost 3-0 to Sheffield United but that can’t take away from the fact we played our first FA Cup Final in 1915. We were FA Cup semi-finalists even earlier in season 1910/11. As an aside, when did Liverpool first win the FA Cup? 1965.
- Chelsea hold the UK attendance record for any top flight game (Premiership, old Division 1 etc) anywhere in England. Crowd: 85,000. Where: Stamford Bridge. When: 1935. That record has been held for 73 years…….makes you think doesn’t it?
- In 1945, Stamford Bridge had the biggest attendance across any football game in the UK in any competition – 120,000 when Dynamo Moscow drew 3-3 with Chelsea in December 1945. That was way above our official stadium capacity but we had thousands who got into the ground illegally and hundreds more sitting on the roof. For a story on the game see here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/sport/atoz/stories/chelsea_vs.shtml
- The sixth biggest television audience of all time across any UK television channel was Chelsea’s 1970 FA Cup Replay against Leeds. With 28.5 million viewers, the TV audience is now only ranked behind such events as Lady Diana’s 1997 funeral and the launch of Apollo 13.
- European Heritage? How about beating Real Madrid in the Final of the European Cup Winner’s Cup in 1971. Or how about 1955, the year of our first Division One title when we would have qualified for the first European Cup only for the FA to veto it on spurious grounds.
- Premiership Record? Feb 21st 2004 was our last home defeat, an English top flight record of over 100 domestic home games without defeat. Points tally? Our tally of 95 in season 2004/2005 is a UK Premiership record.
History? Creating it mate, not living off it. After all, when was Liverpool’s last title? 1990. Not a single Premiership to their name… enough said… for more history, click here: http://www.fchd.btinternet.co.uk/chelsea.htm
As for glory hunters, well, I ask you, was I bathed in glory when standing in the Shed in the 80’s watching us get relegated? I think not.
Chelsea FC, the best team in Europe and the most loyal fans.